Bali airport to remain closed; 60K still in volcano's 'danger zone'

By Sara Shayanian  |  Nov. 28, 2017 at 9:57 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Officials said Tuesday nearly 60,000 people still need to evacuate their homes in Bali as the Mount Agung volcano continues spewing hot volcanic ash over its slopes.

Authorities say only 40,000 people have evacuated the danger zone surrounding the Indonesian volcano. That total represents less than half of the 100,000 people living in 22 villages on the slopes of Mount Agung.

"There are residents who don't want to leave their villages because they said the situation is still safe and they are considering the life of their cattle," Sutopo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said.

Evacuation efforts have also targeted those local livestock herds. So far, fewer than 9,000 cattle have been evacuated -- leaving nearly 6,000 more still in harm's way.

Authorities say that a large eruption is imminent on the island, also a popular international vacation destination.

Meanwhile, Airnav Indonesia extended the closing of the Ngurah Rai International Airport -- Bali's main transportation hub -- for another 24 hours on Tuesday.

"We and all the stakeholders put utmost importance in-flight safety," Wisnu Darjono, Airnav's operation director, said. "This decision was taken to ensure that."

"Volcanic Ash Advisories indicate that the aircraft's guiding traffic path has been covered with volcanic ash, thus endangering flights."

Volcanic ash can disrupt blades in jet and turboprop engines and cause complete engine failure.

Authorities have offered free bus rides, hotel rooms, visa extension services and food coupons to accommodate the more than 80,000 people left stranded.

Since the airport suspended flights on Monday, 196 international flights and 249 domestic flights have been grounded as the Ngurah Rai Airport is the only international gateway to Bali -- accounting for 40 percent of Indonesia's tourism market.

The release of volcanic ash, which began last week, marks the first eruption of the volcano in 50 years when 1,000 people were killed in 1963.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories